Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Case of the Disappearing Dog

Last night, right before their bedtime, Ben and Steven realized that Hansie the dog was missing. I got the children together and tried to make sense of the situation. Yes, he was here earlier today, yes, he went swimming with them in the creek for a little bit and then went home. Yes, they had taken off his invisible-fence collar to cross the road and no, they hadn't put it back on. No, he didn't follow them on their bikes when they went on a ride after supper. But now he’s gone. We went all around the house, looking and calling, and he was nowhere around.

It was time for bed, so the children got into their sleeping bags on the trampoline (where they sleep all summer) and we prayed for Hansie.

And then I went in and tried to work on my article and it was a completely lost cause. Few things put me in a foul mood like a deadline and no inspiration, but nothing makes me go completely, irrationally frantic like losing things. Recently I lost a roll of stamps I had just bought, and it nearly drove me to distraction until I found them one drawer up from where they were supposed to be.

Well, a dog is much bigger and more valuable than a roll of stamps, and suffers much more if it is hit by a car and left beside the road to die, so I was fit to be tied. So instead of working on an article I was furiously typing things like, WHERE OH WHERE IS THAT STUPID DOG?? AND WHY DIDN’T THE BOYS PUT THAT COLLAR BACK ON HIM WHEN THEY GOT HOME?? AARRGGHH.

All night I had dreams of losing Hansie and finding him again. About 4:00 in the morning I had the sudden brilliant thought that when he came back from swimming he tried to go through the culvert and was stuck there. And I would have to crawl into the snakey muck and get him out.

Morning finally came and Hansie was still gone. The boys said he had been by the steps when they came home from swimming, so he probably wasn’t in the culvert. Had he run off to his old home in Brownsville? Had he gone to chase nutrias by the creek? Had someone stolen him? And was he dying beside the road somewhere, struck by a dump truck? But why would he do this? He had never run off before.

I called the neighbors. No one had seen him.

Ben and Steven got on their bikes and went on a long circuit through the neighborhood, calling. Nothing.

They came home and I told them to take a break and then go walk along the creek. Meanwhile, among a thousand other thoughts colliding in my head, I kept thinking vaguely of this news story a few months ago, where two or three children disappeared and people looked all over for three days and then found them in the backyard in the trunk of an old car.

So, since I kept thinking of this, I said, "Steven, just for my peace of mind, please run out and check inside the van."

Pretty soon Steven came running back in. He was laughing. "Mom! He was there!"
"Hansie was in the van!"
"You’re joking."

Sure enough, there was Hansie on the front porch, blond and happy and waving his tail hard enough to knock you over. I was not dreaming. He was real. God be praised.

Amy remembered then that she had carried in several loads of pies and stuff from the van, since she's cooking for a harvest crew, and later while she was grilling hamburgers she noticed that one of the van doors was open. She shut it but evidently never noticed what had hopped into the van in the meanwhile.

Quote of the Day:
"Life is good and God loves me: I figured out what to write about, Hansie is found, and I lost a pound."
--me, to Paul, later this morning


  1. ohhh, yes. that sinking, horrible feeling of "he'sgonehurtordead" i hate that. glad you found him.

  2. Glad everything turned out ok with your dog! Makes a gal turn gray real quick. I don't have a dog but I do have a cat and I worry about her too so no the feeling.

  3. Glad he's found!! And glad too that he wasn't stuck in the van on the 102 degrees day we just had. Instead of a tuna melt it would have been a doggie melt.

  4. Yes, Arlene and Lisa, we would have had a dreadful sight/smell to greet us on Sunday morning if we hadn't thought of looking in the van. Not to mention how Hansie would have suffered. I am soooo thankful I got that nudge from God to look there.

  5. so glad that God gave you the nudge to open the van.